Curious Vengeance of Draco Malfoy, The
For the Veela Inc. Valentine's Day challenge.
PAIRING: Draco/Cho, Harry/Draco.
SUMMARY: Sometimes second best is better.
DISTRIBUTION: Archive anywhere. Email forwarding allowed.
DISCLAIMER: Rowling, not me.
MORE FIC: http://come.to/prillalar/
Many thanks to Kest for alpha and beta and telling me when Draco was too nice.
NOTE: All participants are 16 or older.
February 12, 2003
"We love but once, for once only are we perfectly equipped for loving." Cyril Connolly
THE CURIOUS VENGEANCE OF DRACO MALFOY
by Halrloprillalar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
You can't call it breaking up if all you ever did was meet behind a shed to grope each other. Maybe you could call it breaking off, if there were a breaking off point. But it was only after the third time Harry didn't show up that Draco realized he wasn't coming at all. Draco kicked the shed and put a hole in the wall. He didn't bother to mend it.
So, in the end, something was broken and Draco had no idea why.
Harry would never tell him, not even if Draco beat him til he bled. That might lead to more groping or maybe to expulsion, but Draco still wouldn't know why it had ended, any more than he knew why it began.
They were never alone to make the experiment. Draco had his gang and Harry had his. When they met each other Draco curled his lip a little higher and Harry narrowed his eyes a little closer. Harry's gang made noises and jostled each other, and Draco looked at each one in turn, wondering.
Only one thing was missing from the aftermath: revenge.
Draco schemed elaborate curses to put on Harry, to keep him out of Quidditch or make him fail his classes or cause all his hair to drop out. But it was all too complex, too prone to backfire.
Never plan when you're angry, his father always told him. Emotions interfere with elegance. So Draco went flying to cool his head.
He flew alone every day, higher, faster, farther than he was allowed to. And then he'd land in a clearing and think. The schemes gave way to fantasy dramas, where Harry realized the error of his ways and begged Draco to take him back. Sometimes Draco said yes and sometimes no.
Then one afternoon, Draco landed and someone was already there -- Cho Chang, broom at her feet and chin in her hands.
"You're in my spot."
Cho looked over, startled. "I didn't even hear you land."
"I'll be louder next time. You're still in my spot."
"I come here all the time." She pushed her hair back over her shoulders. "It's nice here, don't you think?"
This wasn't going remotely as expected. But it was too late to yield now. "Yes. That's why this is my spot."
"Good game last week," she said, not moving at all from Draco's clearing. "You've done a good job with the team this year."
"Uh, thanks." And to look like he didn't care that she wasn't moving, he sat down with his back against a tree. "You too."
Neither spoke for a while. Draco found himself pulling up grass by the handful.
"This is a good place to think," Cho said. "Today I'm trying to work out what to do when I leave school."
"Mmm," said Draco.
"It's only a few more months and I still have no idea. It's very worrying." She frowned, then turned to him. "I suppose you have it all planned out already, for next year."
Draco realized he'd never actually thought about it much. He assumed his father would find him something suitable to do. Maybe he'd travel first. "I suppose," he said.
They sat a while longer, both looking out into the trees. Then Cho jumped up. "I've got to go." And then she smiled at him. "You know, you're nicer than I thought."
"No, I'm not," he said, but she was already taking off.
Draco closed his eyes and lay back in the sun. He was half into another daydream when he remembered how Harry's eyes followed Cho whenever she was in the room, even after he'd been meeting Draco behind the shed.
Draco smiled and the wheels began to turn.
The next day, Draco waved at Cho across the Great Hall. She waved back, smiling, and Draco smiled too, ignoring the surprised muttering of his gang. And was pleased to see Harry looking at him from the next table over, poison in his eyes.
"Come on, you lot," Draco said to his gang. "We're going back to the common room." He dug his elbow into Harry's back as he passed him by. "It's a bit crowded in here."
Draco met Cho in the clearing the next day. They sat and talked about brooms and Quidditch and coaching theories. Draco made sure to lean in and listen when Cho was talking.
"Tell me how you taught them that pincer move," Draco said. "It was brilliant."
Cho opened her mouth, then shut it again and looked at him. "You're just trying to get my secrets."
"Of course not," said Draco, putting on his most innocent face, the one that always worked on his mother.
"Of course you are," she said. She grinned and punched him in the shoulder. "Marks for effort, anyhow. Why don't you spill some of your secrets first?"
"Before each game, we all join hands and sing an inspirational song."
"No wonder we won." They both laughed and Draco was pleased.
In History of Magic, while his quill took notes for him, Draco stared at the back of Harry's head. Images slid through his mind -- Harry pulling him behind the shed, Harry's stupid scar, Harry, flanked by his gang, watching Draco in the corridors, Harry winning awards, Harry winning Quidditch, Harry beloved by all.
Draco was suddenly so angry he thought he might be sick. He gripped the edge of the table and stared at his notes, seeing the letters but not reading the words. His head was pounding, his palms were damp. When class let out, he muttered a charm as Harry went by.
Over Harry went, books flying, arms flailing for purchase. One of his hands closed around Draco's wrist and Draco felt a wrench as Harry's weight twisted it.
"You're a menace, Potter." Draco shook himself free and stood up. "You've hurt my wrist."
Harry pulled himself to his feet. His glasses were askew and there was a smudge of dirt on his cheek. "I can do better than that if you'd like, Malfoy." His hands balled into fists and Draco thought they might have that fight after all.
But Harry's gang pulled him away and Draco watched them go, lightheaded and very nearly happy. Then he flexed his wrist, winced, and went to the hospital wing to have it fixed.
Afterwards, he sat in the common room, apart from the others, and tried to read the novel Cho had lent him.
"What did you think of the book?" Cho sat cross-legged and nibbled at a biscuit she'd brought.
"It was...interesting," Draco said, and bit into his biscuit. In truth, he hadn't been able to get through the novel and had resorted to nicking a study guide for it from the library.
"What about the scene where Lucinda and Melo charm their cat to fool Mrs Blenkins?"
"It was brilliant," said Draco. "I laughed."
And so did Cho. "Malfoy, you didn't read the book."
"I tried," Draco said. Lamely. "I just couldn't..."
"You didn't like it. That's all right." She licked some crumbs off her fingers. "You can pick the next one."
"So we're a book club now?"
"We've got to do something to improve ourselves, don't you think?" She poked him in the thigh. "But of course, you're perfect already, aren't you?"
"So it's been said." Draco grinned.
"Your mother doesn't count, Draco." Cho reached out and took Draco's biscuit. "You weren't going to finish this, were you?" And she ate it.
"You're the meanest girl I know," Draco said and gave her a gentle shove. She put out her tongue at him and Draco laughed. It made a change to be with someone who wasn't afraid of him and didn't hate his guts. In fact, it was nice.
When Draco landed, Cho didn't look at him, and only gave him half a smile.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
She was silent for a long time and Draco was on the point of getting back on his broom when she finally spoke. "It's been two years," she said. "Two years and I still miss him." Tears began to streak her face.
Draco was at a loss. This was crucial and he had no idea how to behave. After a minute, he said in a low voice, "I don't know what to do."
She turned to him, face shiny and wet. "What do you usually do when someone cries?"
"I say, 'Stop blubbing, Crabbe, and get hold of yourself.'"
Cho laughed, then hiccoughed. "It's acceptable to pat someone's shoulder awkwardly and say, 'there, there'. And you can lend me a handkerchief."
He fished a monogrammed handkerchief from inside his robes and passed it over. After she had blown her nose, he patted her shoulder a few times. She was slight and he could feel the sharp bones under her skin. "There, there."
"Thanks," she said and they sat for a while, looking out at the trees.
Draco reached out, hesitated, bit his lip, then put his hand over hers. After a moment, she turned her hand and wrapped her fingers around his. They sat together, not speaking, for what seemed like a long time.
When Cho got up to leave, she squeezed Draco's hand once. "Thank you," she said.
He just nodded and watched her fly away.
So it began and Draco was glad. When they could get away, they sat in their clearing and talked, holding hands. Cho leaned her head on Draco's shoulder.
When Draco kissed her, it was warm like a sunny day and she reached up to touch his face. Her hands were small, and soft against his skin.
Back at school, she smiled at him in the corridors and talked to him in the courtyard. Draco sent his gang away and sat with her, watching her pretty eyes and teasing her for help with his Herbology.
Harry's glare was narrower still, but Draco just gave him a brilliant smile whenever they met and was so magnanimous that his gang were more afraid of him than ever.
Draco was surprised by how much he enjoyed being with Cho, how much he missed her when she wasn't around. How much he liked her. And how much she liked him.
And so he smiled even when Harry wasn't there to see it.
He didn't tell Cho he was worried about the Gryffindor match, but she knew anyhow. "I shouldn't be helping you," she said, "but..."
"But you can't resist giving anyone advice." They were sitting with their backs against a tree. Draco picked up a fallen leaf and flicked it at her. "You don't need to," he said. "Everything is under control."
"For the most part, yes. You have a good team, Draco, and you've trained them well."
"So, there's no problem."
She picked up the leaf and twirled it between her fingers. Draco stared at it, whirling one way, then the other. "The problem is Harry."
Draco felt like he'd been drenched in icy water. "What?"
"Everyone knows you two hate each other. And whenever you play against each other, it's all about that, not about Quidditch." She dropped the leaf and ran her thumb along his cheek. "Don't let Harry play you, Draco. Just play the game."
He frowned and didn't speak. She pulled his head down to hers and then he didn't need to.
Draco gathered the team around for his pre-game talk. "We're playing Gryffindor today." They responded with hisses and snarls and a few unprintable comments. "But I want you to forget that."
"What?" "As if we could forget that." "Smash Gryffindor!"
"No," said Draco. "This is what I mean. When we play Gryffindor, we get a little...carried away with team rivalry." They stared at him pointedly. "Yeah, I know, me more than anyone. But I don't think it's good for our game.
"So, today, just play like you're playing Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw." At the mention of Ravenclaw, there was a certain amount of snickering, but Draco ignored it. "Play the game; don't let Gryffindor play you."
And now, thought Draco, for the inspirational song. Instead, they put their broomsticks together and yelled, "Slytherin!"
Out on the field, Draco shook hands with the Gryffindor captain, then moved back into his position. Harry was opposite him and despite his resolve, Draco couldn't resist blowing Harry a kiss just before the whistle. Harry gave him a black look and Draco saw Harry's knuckles whiten as he gripped his broom.
After that, though, Draco was determined. Anyway, with one eye on his team and the other looking for the Snitch, Draco didn't have attention to spare for tormenting Harry.
Both teams scored early on, and Gryffindor scored again, taking the lead. Draco spotted the Snitch but it disappeared again as soon as he and Harry took off after it. Harry crossed in front of Draco and Draco barely kept his broom steady as he pulled up.
"What's the matter, Malfoy?" Harry called. "Lost your nerve?"
Draco's heart was beating and he was breathing hard. He opened his mouth to retort, but he caught sight of Cho in the crowd, waving to him, and thought better of it. Harry followed his glance and scowled. Draco flew away.
Slytherin scored twice in succession and Draco kept his eyes open. Harry was dogging him around the field and Draco thought that ignoring Harry seemed to put him off his game in a way that harassing him never had.
Gryffindor scored three times in a row and Draco called for a time out to break their rhythm. On the ground, he gathered the team around him. "You're doing fine. Don't let them rattle you. Keep on the Chasers and don't let them near the goals. All right?"
They took the air again and the game resumed. For a long time, no one scored and the crowd was getting impatient. Draco and Harry flew figure-eights, scanning the air. Draco took care not to let Harry too close behind him.
Finally, Draco spotted the Snitch, hovering by the Gryffindor goals. He took off with Harry close behind him. "Not a chance, Malfoy," Harry yelled, but Draco ignored him. Nothing fancy, just fly straight there, keep steady, you've got the lead, scoop the Snitch into your hand, crash into the goal, fall off your broom, break your leg.
But they had won. Cho ran out on the field and he gripped her hand tightly as he waited for Madam Pomfrey to fix his leg. Draco saw Harry hovering nearby, defeat written on his face. Draco looked at Cho instead and realized he was still holding the Snitch in his other hand. He let it free and it flew away.
Draco was dreaming. He was at home, in a place on the grounds that only he knew, his childhood hideaway. An overhanging bank made almost a small cave and he had brought things in to make it more comfortable: a rug to sit on, a lamp for light. He'd never taken anyone there, not even the friends who came to play with him.
In the dream, he was with Harry. The roof was too low for them to sit, so they lay down together, arms around each other. Draco stroked Harry's back, and drew him closer.
Harry whispered in Draco's ear, speaking Parseltongue to him, and although Draco couldn't understand it, the sibilance trickled down his spine and ran out under his skin, the most arousing thing he'd ever felt. Then the hiss and sigh came clear to him and he knew that Harry was saying "I hate you, I hate you," over and over again.
Draco shifted so he could see Harry's face. Harry's glasses were off and his eyes were black and unblinking, snake's eyes. "I hate you," said Harry, one more time, and kissed Draco. Draco wanted Harry to whisper to him again, but he couldn't stop the kiss. Harry coiled around him and Draco couldn't breathe.
He woke, heart pounding, skin tingling. Soft snoring came from the corner of the dormitory and someone's bed creaked as he turned over. Draco lay there, hands clenched around the sheets, staring up into the darkness and too asleep to keep himself from wanting Harry.
It was never going to stop -- the dreams, the wanting. Draco didn't know how to reach inside himself and pluck it out. But he was tired of it.
So Draco decided that he would stop, like Quidditch, stop reacting. Stop staring at Harry, stop jabbing at him, stop trying to get at him. Stop letting Harry play him.
And if this annoyed Harry even more, that was just a bonus.
Draco made himself think of Cho as he tried to get to sleep. But it wasn't that hard to do. She laughed and poked him in the ribs and told him he was finally getting smart about this.
She put her arms around his neck and whispered in his ear. "I'll never leave you for my dead boyfriend." She kissed him and the sun came out and Draco was dreaming again.
At breakfast, instead of glaring at Harry across the hall, Draco told off Crabbe and Goyle for eating too much bacon and buttered his toast while they sulked. In between bites, he advised George East, a Slytherin first year, on the best way to get round Professor Snape when your homework wasn't done.
In History of Magic, Draco summoned Neville Longbottom's chair out from under him, causing enough of a disturbance that Professor Binns actually looked up. During the lecture, Draco hid Cho's book under the table and tried to read it again.
The day was warm and after class, Draco sat out in the courtyard, playing Gobstones with Crabbe and Goyle. Crabbe was on a winning streak and Draco was glad they were only playing for Knuts.
It was late afternoon when Cho came up to him, with that look in her eye. "Let's go for a walk," she said and took his hand. They walked out onto the grounds, right past Harry. Draco didn't even look at him.
"Over here," Cho said and pulled him behind the shed.
There were two holes in the wall. "Disgraceful," Draco said, "how everything is so run down." And then he smiled and kissed her.
F I N I S
Who's your HP second choice? Names and feedback to email@example.com
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Halrloprillalar
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